July 30, 2010

July 30, 2010
We Need a Better Solution

Welcome to another day in my life. Today is Friday and we have made it through another work week. I hope you have had a safe and great week.

This weekend will be another busy one for Dab the AIDS Bear while attending several different events. So stay tuned for more pics and slide show in the near future. If you see us at your event, please walk up and get your picture taken with Dab the AIDS Bear in support of people living with HIV and AIDS.

As you know from reading my blog, the ADAP waiting lists in our country are continuing to grow larger every week. And still there is no solution.

I am concerned that we are trying to balance AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) budget shortfalls on the backs of People with AIDS (PWAs). Ohio recently changed the income eligibility levels for PWAs to qualify for its ADAP program. As a result, on July 1st 274 clients lost their HIV medications. New Jersey will change its income eligibility levels, so that on August 1st 947 PWAs will lose their benefits. Changing income eligibility levels to qualify for ADAP benefits may balance your books in the short term; but it is a false solution.

It will not be long before this change forces PWAs to quit their jobs. Its not worth your job if you do not have access to these life prolonging medications. PWAs who quit their jobs will need more financial support and more HIV/AIDS services. Turning any short term cost savings into a long term budget nightmare.

Given the resistance profile of some of these drugs, it is imperative that PWAs stay on top of their regimen, not miss any doses, and follow their doctorís recommendations. At a minimum, we need to grandfather in the 1221 PWAs who may lose or have lost their ADAP benefits. It is unfair to ask these folks to scramble to figure out solutions to a problem they did not create.

We need the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS) to address the 2158* (as of July 22nd) individuals on ADAP waiting lists and 1221 PWAs who will lose or have lost their benefits due to changes in income eligibility levels. What America are we going to be? On one hand we have the NHAS goal of increasing access to care and optimize health outcomes, on the other hand we have ADAP waiting lists and individuals losing their benefits as a way to balance ADAP budgets. I hope we are the America defined by the President in the National HIV/AIDS Strategy. However, it is going to take money. Without additional dollars to carry out the Presidentís ambitious agenda, the strategy is just a plan waiting for the shredder.

Now Florida has an ADAP waiting list closing in on 900 men and women. Soon Ryan White will only pay for HIV medications and yet the list will continue to grow. But yet our President says HIV and AIDS is a priority for his Administration.

Not from where I am sitting.

Those are my thoughts. What are yours? Drop us a line and let us know.

Until we meet again; here's wishing you health, hope, happiness and just enough.

big bear hug,

Daddy Dab